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What Are the Different Types of Percussion Cases?

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  • Written By: Erik J.J. Goserud
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 13 September 2016
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There are several different types of percussion cases to protect your musical instrument. Three basic categories cover the most common choices. They include those that case drums, those that case cymbals, and those that case sticks, brushes, mallets and smaller hand accessories.

The majority of musicians and bands choose hard-shell cases to protect their instruments, especially if they play regularly. Cheaper, soft-shell options are also available and are sometimes included with the purchase of a percussive instrument. They are not, however, road ready and should not be relied upon to protect gear that is frequently transported.

There are several pieces to a drum set, so drum cases vary in size. A basic drum set contains four pieces: a bass drum or kick drum, a snare, a rack tom, and a floor tom, which can also be referred to as the low tom. The bass drum is the largest drum and typically requires a case with a 20- to 24-inch (51- to 61-cm) diameter. The basic floor tom is traditionally 14 or 16 inches (36 or 41 cm) in diameter, while the most common snare size is 14 inches (36 cm) in diameter. The snare drum is the most important drum to protect as it takes the most wear on and off the stage.

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Cymbals can usually fit into one circular percussion case. Percussion cases for cymbals are typically the diameter of the ride cymbal, the largest cymbal in a basic drum set. Percussionists will commonly put hi-hats, crashes, and ride cymbals all in one bag. These bags come in hard-shell and soft-shell forms. Small pockets come installed on the front of the cymbal bag for small accessories such as drum keys and cymbal-cleaning solutions.

Drummers often carry a backup snare drum head in the cymbal case in the event that it should break during a show. Large, rectangular cases for the cymbals’ stands are sometimes used, but cymbal stands are commonly transported without casing. Cases for cymbal stands are the heaviest to transport.

The smallest types of percussion cases are for drumsticks, mallets, brushes, and other hand instrument accessories. They are traditionally 16 to 20 inches (41 to 51 cm) in height and 5 to 10 inches (13 to 25 cm) in width. Musicians often opt for soft-shell percussion cases for their sticks because drumsticks and brushes are relatively inexpensive to replace. These percussion cases are ultra lightweight and can be attached to the floor tom for easy access during a performance.

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